Archive | August 25, 2013

4-Year Old Daughter of Single Mother Told By USDA to Give Up Growing Vegetables!*

4-Year Old Daughter of Single Mother Told By USDA to Give Up Growing Vegetables!*

By Sarah

In the recent concern that drought and natural disaster US has a food security issue, this is story is far from common sense!

With each passing day, it seems the United States of America, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” is becoming more and more like the Communist Russia I learned about in elementary school where people weren’t allowed to grow their own food unless the State “allowed” it.

In this latest crackdown on citizens simply trying to provide for themselves using the most basic of skills – gardening – the USDA’s Rural Development Agency is forbidding Rosie, an industrious 4-year old girl in South Dakota from using a small, unused area outside her subsidized housing unit to grow green vegetables.

Rosie’s mother, Mary (names changed to protect the child’s identity), is single and severely disabled. She and her daughter live on a fixed income disability payment of $628/month. The garden vegetables growing just outside her backdoor lovingly tended by Rosie provide a fresh and healthy addition to their diet that they could not otherwise easily afford.

Rosie started the garden in May 2013, but now the property management company has ordered the garden be removed this week!

The reason?

The property management company claims that gardening goes against the rules set by the USDA’s Rural Development Agency which forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas. It seems to me that the practice of growing vegetables by the most needy in our society would take precedence over landscaping, wouldn’t you agree?

I wonder if the USDA plans to establish “rules” about breathing air in subsidized areas too?

The Federal bureaucracy seems to think that it owns those individuals who receive any sort of government assistance and that their behavior is completely within its jurisdiction to control no matter how ridiculous or blatantly un-American the power-tripping “rules” they decide to put in place may be.

Think this is an isolated case?  It’s not.  I write regularly on this blog about these outrageous situations where ordinary citizens are bullied by out of control bureaucrats, the most recent being a Mother in Maine who was harassed and threatened by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for feeding her healthy, robust 3 month old son homemade goat milk formula instead of horribly unhealthy commercial formula from the store laced with rancid vegetable oils and GMOs!

What You Can Do Now to Help Rosie

It is truly unfathomable that our country has degenerated to the point where a person can no longer garden without permission from bureaucratic thugs who get paid with our hard earned tax dollars to think up these rules –  not laws – rules that have never been voted on by the elected representatives of the citizens expected to abide by those rules.

If you recall, this is exactly the sort of authoritarian insanity that started the American Revolutionary War (tea party anyone?).

Tell the USDA where it can put its “rules” against gardening by those living in rural, subsidized areas.

You can either sign the petition to save Rosie’s garden by clicking here or send an outraged letter directly to Elsie Meeks, State Director for South Dakota, USDA Rural Development Agency.

Sample Email to USDA

You can copy/paste the email template below to send directly from your email provider. Template provided courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International, the source of this story.



Subject: Allow USDA-subsidized housing residents to grow vegetable gardens

Message body:

Dear Director Meeks,

I urge you to make a loud and clear statement to all the property management companies your agency contracts that USDA-subsidized residents have the right to keep their own vegetable gardens provided that these gardens are actively maintained. Vegetable gardens grow healthy and affordable foods as well as a sense of community. Rather than preventing low-income and disabled residents from providing for themselves, we should be doing everything we can to encourage them. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

(Your name, your town, your state)

UPDATE 8/25/2013: Roger Doiron, Director of Kitchen Gardeners International, has provided more details on this emerging story. The USDA has claimed in email correspondence to Mr. Doiron that it has no written rules preventing Mary and Rosie from having a garden (despite the property management company’s insistence to the contrary). On the other hand, the USDA hasn’t come to Mary and Rosie’s defense either and is letting the property management company it has a contract with call the shots by doing nothing as this harmless little garden is threatened with removal rather than creating a precedent by supporting it.

Bureaucratic rules are notoriously confusing to understand let alone interpret, but if the USDA is correct in its assertion that there are no “rules” against gardening in subsidized housing, why then is the property management company under the auspices of the USDA being permitted to bully Rosie and Mary?

The USDA pays most of the rent for Mary and thousands of citizens like her around the United States.  It should do the right thing and insist that property owners and managers of subsidized housing permit residents to grow their own food in well cared for gardens rather than look the other way when residents are bullied for their efforts at self sufficiency.  After all, the stated mission of the USDA Rural Development Agency is to “improve the quality of life in rural America”. Gardening surely would be supportive of this important goal.


Related Topics:

Let Them Starve!

The Food Revolution Continues. . .

12-year-old Donates 2 Tonnes of Vegetables to Homeless*

The Food Deserts of America

Egypt Widens Crackdown and Meaning of ‘Islamist’*

Egypt Widens Crackdown and Meaning of ‘Islamist’*

The cracking down on all dissenters began with the crack down on Muslim Brotherhood, but tarred with the same brush for the 9/11 rallying cry as Islamists or terrorists. Here is an extract from a New York Times coverage which reflects on why the January 25, 2011 youth took to the streets in the first place. Not all the protests have been pro-Morsi, and more so since the release of formerly deposed Hosni Mubarak, the protests have been against the current interim government.

By David D. Kirkpatrick

Having crushed the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian authorities have begun cracking down on other dissenters, sometimes labeling even liberal activists or labor organizers as dangerous Islamists.

Ten days ago, the police arrested two left-leaning Canadians — one of them a filmmaker specializing in highly un-Islamic movies about sexual politics — and implausibly announced that they were members of the Brotherhood, the conservative Islamist group backing the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi. In Suez this month, police and military forces breaking up a steelworkers strike charged that its organizers were part of a Brotherhood plot to destabilize Egypt.

On Saturday, the chief prosecutor ordered an investigation into charges of spying against two prominent activists associated with the progressive April 6 group [set up by Mohamed el-Baradei who recently resigned as vice-president].

When a journalist with a state newspaper spoke publicly about watching a colleague’s wrongful killing by a soldier, prosecutors appeared to fabricate a crime to punish the journalist. And the police arrested five employees of the religious Web site Islam Today for the crime of describing the military takeover as a coup, security officials said.

Police abuses and politicized prosecutions are hardly new in Egypt, and they did not stop under Mr. Morsi. But since the military takeover last month, some rights activists say, the authorities are acting with a sense of impunity exceeding even the period before the 2011 revolt against Hosni Mubarak.

The government installed by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi has renewed the Mubarak-era state of emergency removing all rights to due process or protections against police abuse. And police officials have pronounced themselves “vindicated.” They say the new government’s claim that it is battling Islamist violence corroborates what they have been saying all along: that it was Islamists, not the police, who killed protesters before Mr. Mubarak’s ouster.

“What is different is that the police feel for the first time in two and a half years, for the first time since January 2011, that they have the upper hand, and they do not need to fear public accountability or questioning,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch.

In the more than seven weeks since Mr. Morsi’s ouster, security forces have carried out at least three mass shootings at pro-Morsi street protests, killed more than a thousand Morsi supporters and arrested at least as many, actions Ms. Morayef characterized as

“massive police abuse on an unprecedented scale.”

But even beyond the Islamists, she said,

“anyone who questions the police right now is a traitor, and that is a protection that they did not have even in 2010,” when public criticism was tolerated and at least a few complaints were investigated.

Prosecutors had already begun investigating Mohamed El-Baradei, the liberal former United Nations diplomat, for “betraying the public trust” [meaning betraying their trust]

But some of the recent charges, like those against the two Canadians, strain credibility. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian physician with Palestinian roots and a history as a liberal and pro-Palestinian activist, was in Egypt on his way to the Gaza Strip to provide training to Palestinian doctors. John Greyson, a liberal Toronto filmmaker whose work often focuses on cosmopolitan sexual themes, was with him, documenting the trip for a possible movie. A lawyer for the two said they were stopped at a checkpoint near a street battle, trying to walk back to their hotel after the 7 p.m. curfew.

“They were just in the wrong place at very much the wrong time,” the lawyer, Khaled El-Shalakany, said Saturday.

The exact circumstances of their arrest were unclear. In a public statement, Egyptian prosecutors accused them of “participating with members of the Muslim Brotherhood” in an armed assault on a police station and “taking part in bloody crimes of violence.” Prosecutors told reporters at the time that the police had detained 240 Brotherhood “members,” including two Canadians. (Mr. Shalakany said they remained in jail as “overwhelmed” prosecutors tried to deal with a backlog of hundreds of arrests in the crackdown.)

Read on >>>

Related Topics:

“Silence is Complacency”: Against the Coup in Egypt*  

36 Brotherhood Detainees Killed Near Cairo*

An American living in Cairo through the Coup*